US officials announced on Tuesday, March 24th, that Saudi Arabia could engage in the Yemeni conflict which is deteriorating day by day. Heavy military equipment, including artillery, are currently gathered to help defend the borders and keep sharing oil with Yemen.

The Houthi Shiite militia backed by Iran, seized from the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September, recently took possession of Taiz Airport and the adjoining military base, and are now heading south threatening the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb (strategic) towards Aden refuge where President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is. This prompted the Saudi monarchy to start this new process of prevention and defence.

The conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis in Yemen are heightening tensions between the two great powers of the region, namely Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Islamic Republic is also accused of aggravating the situation through its support to Shiite militias. Finally, the conflict could expand, degenerate and include Iran, a Shiite republic supporting the Houthis and Saudi Arabia, Sunni monarchy supporting President Hadi.

The artillery displaced by Saudi Arabia could be used in an offensive or defensive aim, according to US government sources. Furthermore, the kingdom could carry out air strikes in order to defend the President Hadi if the Houthi militia attack his refuge in Aden.

Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi was pushed by the Houthis to resign on January 22, after the militia had taken full control of Sanaa following a coup. However, a month later, the President dismissed the coup and fled towards Aden, claiming that he would continue the political process and the national dialogue. Today it is seriously threatened by the advance of the belligerents, heading south.

The monarchy shares a long border of 1,800 km with Yemen. This puts it in first place for overflow of the conflict. In addition, the eastern region of Ash Sharqiyah Region, whose population is predominantly Shiite and holds extremely important oil fields, is located in this area.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said on Monday that Arab countries are taking the necessary steps to protect the region against "aggression" of the Houthi movement, since a peaceful solution can not be found.

On Tuesday, President Hadi has asked the UN Security Council to authorize an immediate military intervention from countries that wish to help Yemen combat this threat.
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